With pumpkins of all sizes lining windowsills and front porches, the colours of crisp foliage mimicking the most magnificent of sunsets, and the warm aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg wafting through the doors of every coffee shop – it’s beginning to feel a lot like fall in the Northern Hemisphere!
Between the hustle of finding the perfect Halloween costume and the countdown to Christmas, is a day that marks the official start of the holidays – Thanksgiving, traditionally a time of giving thanks to the good fortune and harvest of the season, before the cold months of winter set in. Whether it is the Kadazan festival in Malaysia or the Homowo festival (festival of the yams) in Ghana, it is no wonder that cultures around the world have thanksgiving traditions that offer thanks to mother nature for her role in providing a plentiful harvest.
In North America, Thanksgiving Day is now a national, secular holiday, celebrated on the 2nd Monday of October in Canada and on the 4th Thursday of November in the U.S. Similar festivals are celebrated in other parts of the world on varying dates. Now characterised, as a weekend of watching American Football, lavish feasts with Turkey and Black Friday shopping, it is important to look back and remember that the true spirit of the holiday is in expressing gratitude.
Gratitude is one of the most powerful of human emotions, both for the giver and receiver. Scientific research shows that gratitude has a lasting, positive effect on the brain. Feelings of appreciation boost the release of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, resulting in a happier mood and a mental state that further promotes the expression of gratefulness.
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we’ve created an infographic with ideas on how to express your appreciation in different ways. So, before you settle into the warm lull of the season, enjoying some much-needed downtime with family and friends, take a few moments to thank those who have made a difference in your life. And, while you’re at it, don’t forget to appreciate yourself!